DHAKA: As reports came in of a coup attempt being foiled, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reasserted that she wants democracy and peace in the country.
Two former army officers had been arrested and over a dozen suspected to be involved in the foiled plot to overthrow the Hasina regime earlier this month. The Bangladesh army had said Thursday that it had thwarted the attempt by over a dozen religiously fanatic officers to topple the government.
An apparently unperturbed Hasina said Thursday that hundreds of people had to die in the politics of coups and murder.
"I don't want to hear mothers crying (over losing their children). I want democracy and peace," Daily Star quoted her as saying at meeting with her party's Khagrachhari district unit leaders.
She said after her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's assassination in 1975, elements in the army had staged around 18 to 19 coups, for which thousands of people had to die.
"Who are the beneficiary of the politics of killings and coups?" she asked, and responded that it was mainly the armed forces officers and soldiers who were killed in those coups.
"Those who captured power by keeping weapons on their shoulders were mostly affected. When a coup took place in 1977, (former president) Ziaur Rahman killed 17 officers of the air force. They faced court-martial and were taken to the firing squad on the same day," she added.
The army said efforts by some officers to topple the government have been foiled and that the process to bring the culprits to justice has begun.
"Specific information has been unearthed that some officers in active military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance," said army spokesperson Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq.
Razzaq branded the accused army officers as having extreme religious views.